Thursday, December 17, 2009


not 'what would Jesus do?'

what would Jarronn do? i spend a lot of time asking myself that question. mainly asking how he would deal with this situation if the tables were turned?

would he have struggled to get out of bed in the mornings? or lost his appetite? or stopped working out? or felt a loss of identity?

would he break down and cry when he was alone? would he smile, joke, and laugh through the pain? would he be able to focus at work? would people tell him he was so strong?

who would he go to for comfort? who would he cry in front of? would he leave so many emails unanswered? how much would he share?

how would he feel talking about me? would he smile when he saw my picture? would he reach for the phone to call me?

what would he do with my clothes? and papers? and receipts? and toiletries? would he sleep on my side of the bed? would he smell my clothes for traces of my scent?

would his faith be shaken? would he believe everything happens for a reason? would he think he was responsible? would he look at the future with hope? would he believe that one day he'd see me again?

i wish i could follow his example. like i did with a lot of other things. instead, i have this life to live. these choices to make. this process to go through. my way.

Monday, December 14, 2009


since Jarronn died, i've given a lot of thought to this notion of being chosen. or more so, i've questioned how God decides who to choose for certain things. what determines whether or not someone lives a long life? whether they have a disability? whether they are able to have children? whether they fulfill a dream?

why will so many people around me live lives that are "normal," and mine will forever be marked by this extremely tragic event? why do some people get most of the things they want, while others spend their whole lives only wishing to do so?

before Jarronn died, i often wondered why i'd been chosen for so much. chosen to have loving, supportive parents. chosen to have a great education. chosen to have friends who never betrayed me. chosen to never lack materially. chosen to have never experienced heartbreak. chosen to have a face some people find pretty. chosen to have found the love of my life.

really, how does God decide? before Jarronn died, the only explanation i had for why i'd been chosen for so much was that i obviously wasn't strong enough to handle the pain of deferred dreams that i'd seen so many people around me endure. but clearly, i was wrong about that.

i get upset that i wasn't chosen to spend the rest of my life with Jarronn. to build a life and family with him. to see him grow into the man he wanted to be. to see us overcome the challenges of marriage. to see us impact the lives of people around us. together.

but then i remind myself that it could have been different altogether. i could have not been chosen to meet Jarronn at all. to experience love i didn't believe existed. to spend hours laughing harder than i knew i could. to feel the contentment and self-assuredness that comes with being in a relationship like the one i had with him.

i may not be chosen for so many of the other things i've wanted out of life, but i'm not sure there's really room to complain about that. really.

p.s. thanks for all of the well-wishes surrounding the end of my semester. i was feeling the pressure, but things turned out well. love.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

familiar feeling

last week of school. definitely feeling the pressure. and that means less time for writing on the blog. trying to focus at work. list is made. headphones are in.

here's what i'm listening to. song by john mayer. a new favorite artist (i know i'm behind the curve on this one). have a listen...

dreaming with a broken heart - john mayer

when you're dreaming with a broken heart
then waking up is the hardest part
you roll outta bed and down on your knees
and for a moment you can hardly breathe
wondering was she really here?
is she standing in my room?
no she's not, 'cause she's gone, gone, gone, gone, gone....

when you're dreaming with a broken heart
the giving up is the hardest part
she takes you in with her crying eyes
then all at once you have to say goodbye
wondering could you stay my love?
will you wake up by my side?
no she can't, 'cause she's gone, gone, gone, gone, gone....

now do i have to fall asleep with roses in my hands
do i have to fall asleep with roses in my hands?
do i have to fall asleep with roses in my hands?
do i have to fall asleep with roses in my , roses in my hands?

would you get them if i did?
no you won't, 'cause you're gone, gone, gone, gone, gone....

when you're dreaming with a broken heart
the waking up is the hardest part

Friday, December 4, 2009


a friend of mine who later became a friend of Jarronn's sent me an email in response to my post about the why vs. the what. in it, he talked about his feelings right after Jarronn passed. he said he felt "robbed" of a friend. of future memories. that the world was robbed of a good man.


wow, because Jarronn was that special. and wow at how accurate that word is in describing the situation. the shock, the loss, the lack of fault or answers. robbed. the word just hits me...

Monday, November 30, 2009

dry cleaning

i hadn’t been to the dry cleaners in a really long time. made lots of attempts, but never seemed to make it there. this started to become a problem, because i was missing some of my favorite clothing items. i also knew that i needed to go and see if any of Jarronn’s clothes were still there. i wondered if the people at the dry cleaners had been trying to call Jarronn’s phone to get him to pick up his unclaimed items. his phone that i leave turned off, yet still pay the bill for.

last night i cleared out a box of items from Jarronn’s car. i found a dry cleaners receipt for 7/27/09. three days before he died. i knew his clothes must have been there.

i took my bundle of clothes into the shop. it’s owned by a married korean couple. the husband asked for my phone number. i asked him to change my name in the computer to “jackson.” his wife sorted and counted my items. i handed her the receipt for Jarronn’s clothes and wondered if i might make it out before having to tell her about him. i figured she might not have remembered we were married.

but she did.

those who were at Jarronn’s memorial service might remember me talking about how much everyone loved him. “even the people at the dry cleaners.” Jarronn would frequently tell me how much he liked this particular shop. how they knew exactly how to lightly starch his shirts. how he’d greet them in korean. how they were christians. how they were always happy to see him. i once picked up his clothes, shortly after we got married. i gave the woman the first three digits of his phone number, and before i could finish, she exclaimed, “mr. jackson! oh yes, he is [our] #1 customer!” of course, i smiled. he was my #1 too. when i got home and told Jarronn, he smiled ear-to-ear and laughed so hard. probably said something like, "i love my people."

so when i stood there today, and she said, “your husband, mr. jackson hasn’t been here in a long time,” i had to swallow hard. i told her he had died in july. that it was a motorcycle. i'm not sure she understood my english. her husband came up front, and i told him the same thing. they were shocked. and saddened. and sorry. i told them how much he loved coming there and thanked them for always taking such good care of him. i wished we could have said more to each other, but the language barrier got in the way. the husband carried Jarronn’s clothes out to my car.

as i drove off, a couple of tears fell. wish i could be taking those clothes home to him. wonder when i’m supposed to pick up mine…

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

the why vs. the what

church on sundays isn't quite the same. but it's still fulfilling and worthwhile. this past sunday, our pastor (keith battle) talked about how he deals with trials in his life. with the deaths, illness, and other struggles, 2009 has been a tough year for a lot of people (can i get an amen?).

pastor battle talked about how he's learned to avoid doing what most of us do when tragedy and trials happen in our lives. he's learned to resist the urge to ask "why?" it's a natural thing, but the truth is asking "why?" doesn't help us move forward. it also implies a sense of entitlement that none of us has really earned (that's a jessica addition).

instead of asking "why?", pastor battle suggested that we ask "what?" as in, "what am i supposed to learn from this?" now i can honestly say that i often look for lessons in life. and that i believe life is all about learning, growing, and getting better. but i can also honestly say that after Jarronn died, i had no capacity to see a lesson in the situation. in my mind, Jarronn's death wasn't worth some lesson i might learn. it wasn't worth the pain that it caused me, his family, and so many of the lives he touched.

but there are some things i've learned. not sure that they're the ultimate lessons. those might come months or years down the line. but they're good ones, i think. i've learned that we have false perceptions about the amount of control we have over our lives. i've learned that grieving is a process that chooses us and can't be rushed through. i've learned that the human spirit is incredibly strong and has the capacity to overcome anything.

and perhaps pastor battle is right when he says, "pain is the greatest classroom." pain, unlike happiness, gets our attention. i swear i thought i was being attentive enough, but apparently, God had a different opinion. and oh, how i'd hate to go through this class and not learn anything. left to repeat it over and over, until i receive my passing grade...

"When times are good, be happy;
but when times are bad, consider:
God has made the one
as well as the other." - Ecclesiastes 7:14

Friday, November 20, 2009


i made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. one of Jarronn's staples. i made him two pbj's back in 2005, the night we had our talk. the talk about liking each other as more than just friends. after a year as friends, we joked about how maybe it was something in those sandwiches. or the full moon. or it being the first day of summer.

Jarronn told me he liked those sandwiches, but i think he was just trying to boost my ego. the truth was that we liked our pbj's very different. i like thin layers of peanut butter and jelly. Jarronn liked to pile on both. we both learned to make them in the way the other person liked.

on certain mornings, i would make pbj's for Jarronn to carry in his lunch bag. he appreciated it a lot. i was happy that something so small could make him happy.

i miss having him around to do things for. having someone to make happy. someone to buy gifts for (he LOVED gifts). and someone to cook for. of course i can do all of these things for other people, besides Jarronn. but really. it's not the same. throughout this situation, i don't think there's been a moment when i've felt the absence of love. on the contrary, i feel extremely loved. but i miss giving love. in the way i was once able to.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


a few weeks ago, some of my girl friends took me on a weekend trip to arizona for my birthday. (i have absolutely amazing friends; more on that later). it has taken me a few weeks to post about this, mainly because it took me so long to get the photos together.

arizona was great. i had been there many times before, because my father lived there for about seven years. i had really wanted to take Jarronn there. to see the grand canyon. and sedona. a new part of the world. i unfortunately never got a chance.

this trip was special, because outside of knowing i was flying to arizona, i had no idea what the weekend had in store. as with all major events/occasions these days, i headed into the weekend in a bit of a funk. it's hard to get excited about things in the same way i used to. my normal attitude is to jump into things head first and ensure a good time for myself and others. but lately, i feel like i've lost some capacity to do that, and when i realize it, i'm depressed to see how i've changed. that i'm not quite myself.

but the weekend definitely got better. that's what happens when you're surrounded by amazing people. they took me to sedona, where we drove through the red rock mountains. we climbed the vortex and felt the peace that comes from seeing how spectacular God's work is.

my friends made me laugh. made me relax. got me a massage. got me full. made up my face. made me dance. made me cry. gave me a rock. gave me memories. and gave me power -- in the form of a purple bracelet. :-)

if you're going through something difficult, i highly recommend taking a trip somewhere. it doesn't make everything different or change circumstances when you get back home. but there's something about how different scenery can take you to a different place, if even mentally.

enjoy the photos...

Sunday, November 15, 2009


sometimes it's hard to know that pain in life is inevitable. if i could tell myself, with a guarantee, that this was the roughest it would get, that i had hit the bottom, that there'd be no pain worse than might make it a little easier to bear.

instead, i live with the possibility that i have a lot more living to do. and though there will likely be much more happiness than pain in my life when it's all said and done, pain will be a part of this journey. it feels pretty daunting. i try to tell myself that this will give me the strength to face all of the future pains, but let's be honest. i can't be so sure.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

grocery store

i decided to stop by the grocery store last night on my way home. i've hardly been to the grocery store since Jarronn died. i used to go every three or four days. it was one of my household duties we'd agreed on. Jarronn used to tell me i was weird for calling it the "supermarket" and not the "grocery store."

the thing about going to the grocery store (as i learned to call it) is that i usually run into people i know. on my way in, i ran into one of Jarronn's flag football teammates. he told me he and his girlfriend wanted to get together soon. i told him i looked forward to it.

went inside and grabbed a few things. between health nut, 12 grain, honey oat, country wheat, sweet crunch, and oat bran -- it took me about five minutes to choose a loaf of bread (really, how can there be so many choices?) it was a lot easier when Jarronn was around. i'd always just pick up his favorite brand.

i got into the check-out line and scanned the magazine rack. in the midst of learning that fergie's husband is cheating on her, the guy in line in front of me turned around and asked, "do you know someone named Jarronn?" i think my eyes must have showed happiness and sadness at the same time. the guy had gone to high school and played in the school band with Jarronn. he told me how he had a photo of the two of them from his freshman year. how he had seen the two of us together a few times, which i wasn't able to remember. he insisted that he buy my groceries. soy milk. bread. syrup. cookies.

we went outside, and he seemed eager to tell me a few Jarronn stories. i'm always up for those. he told me how he played the drums, and that people would tell him how great he was. but he'd always say he had learned from Jarronn. he told me other stories of things he'd done, because he saw Jarronn doing them. the long hair. the gum chewing. the sayings. stories of how Jarronn stood up for him when some dude wanted to beat him up.

we talked about the motorcycle and how Jarronn's accident made him decide against getting one. i told him i understood. that it's hard because Jarronn loved his bike so much. he said, "yeah, but he loved you a lot more. i saw him with his helmet once, but i saw the two of you together all the time." it might sound silly, but that was good to hear. something i needed to hear.

maybe i should go to the grocery store more often...

Thursday, November 5, 2009


seems like every song has a memory connected to Jarronn. but this particular one always gets me. when it first came out, i made a big deal about how fine michael ealy was in the video. i made Jarronn watch it with me, and i told him i thought beyonce' might be my cousin, because she has the little moles on the side of her eyes like people in my family do. (he thought that was funny). i'm not a huge fan of beyonce's acting (and who the heck knows what the water scene is about??), but i do love the looks that she and mike ealy exchange in this video. i think they capture that feeling of being totally amazed by someone.

one night during our honeymoon, we were riding on a shuttle to dinner, and the song came on. the shuttle was full, so Jarronn rode in the seat directly in front of me. i placed my hand on his shoulder and sang along with the song. sang the words to him.

now as i hear the lyrics, that all seems ironic. and funny that they still apply now.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

three months

three months since Jarronn's been gone. a quarter of the year. longer than the time we spent married. right after he died, i wondered how it would be possible for me to function. the thing with stuff like this is that one day, you look up, you realize that three months have passed, so obviously it's possible. the future doesn't look more bearable, but at least you have the proof to know you can make it.

even after three months, i still struggle with the reality of it all. this weekend i dreamt that he was alive. that he'd only been away on a trip. he made me laugh. i told him he was "so silly" (something i must have said to him at least three times every day). i watched him sleeping in bed. i went to tell people he was back. but i stopped short of it when i remembered that he couldn't really be back. i had seen his body in the hospital. in fact, he's really gone.

still, i seem to spend most days lost in thoughts where i imagine he's back. and i imagine feeling just a few minutes of what he made me feel. and i imagine the life we'd dreamed of. and i imagine a regular saturday. and i imagine the sofa armrest is his lap. and i imagine him putting on his suit in the morning or mopping the hardwood floors or calling me with a funny story from his day.

i try to talk to him, but it's never anything very eloquent. which just makes me feel silly. i don't feel him around me, though i so wish i did. maybe that's just stuff for the movies. and meanwhile, time just keeps on passing. the leaves have changed. events comes and go. people celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and new beginnings. nothing stops, though i'm stuck trying to remember the details of the last five years of life. trying to move forward, yet not wanting to. enjoying some wonderful moments, while being reminded of how much has been lost.

three. whole. months. people say time flies. and it does. but i've fully felt these past three months. the reality and weight of each day and moment without the love of my life.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


thursday morning, i woke up and felt like i had been hit by a bus. seems as though my body got tired of waiting for me to give it some rest, and decided to take it instead. i made it to class on thursday night, mainly because i couldn't stand the thought of falling behind. but i spent the rest of thursday and friday in the bed, in the dark. still trying to get my body right. being sick is no fun, but i know that isn't news to anyone.

i don't get sick like this a lot. although there were a couple of days during the middle of my honeymoon when i seemed to experience some similar symptoms. woke up one day and just didn't feel right. had the chills. no appetite. i felt horrible about disrupting our trip by being sick. and i was determined to get better as fast as possible. so i slept in our cabana for the entire day. Jarronn went off and learned to water ski. he came back to check on me. he went off to try wind surfing. and came back to check on me. he played his daily game of volleyball. and came back to check on me.

he bought me the $12 box of tylenol cold from the hotel gift shop. he told me not to push myself too hard if i wasn't feeling well. when i fell asleep one night that we were supposed to go out, and i realized what had happened the next morning, he told me it was more important for me to get my rest.

he was great. not too fussy, which i don't like. reassuring that it was ok for me to take time to get better. adjusting to the circumstances. another example of how he knew how to relate to me.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Jarronn was so special. the kind of person you'd notice when he walked into the room. the kind of person that leaves an impression on people. important people. random people. high level executives. the neighbors down the street. the lady at the dry cleaners. the sales team at debeers. the receptionists at his doctors' offices.

i'm constantly running into people who knew Jarronn. last thursday, it was his old co-worker who told me how much Jarronn inspired him to work hard and live a life of faith. he also told me he'd beat up anybody that gave me any trouble (it's funny how support comes in all forms). :-) that same night, i met a girl who went to high school with Jarronn. i guess a lot of people now know my face, even though i can't always remember theirs. she asked me if i was Jarronn's wife. i love when people ask me that. i still feel proud when i get to answer 'yes.'

at church on sunday, there were more people who introduced themselves as friends of Jarronn's. i like meeting all of these people. people who i know got to experience some of the greatness that was Jarronn.

and at the football game last night, as i sat in Jarronn's seat, i heard the season ticket holders in front of us telling my friend how they missed having him around this year. that they used to call him jason campbell (ummm, no comment.). and i got to feel proud again as i introduced myself as his wife.

proud because he was so special. and he loved me. chose me. stretched me. took care of me. and i got to feel and experience his specialness every day.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


i wish it hadn't been so long since my last post. i have more than enough to say for each day. but not nearly enough time. work and school have demanded a lot of time. perhaps it's a blessing in disguise.

wednesday was my birthday. the first birthday without Jarronn in five years. the first birthday he was around for was in 2004. he, myself, and our co-worker tamika (unofficially known as "the caucus") had started the tradition of going out for dinner to celebrate each of our birthdays. we went to outback steakhouse for mine. Jarronn had us laughing as he created commentary for the table next to us. he asked the server about her "flair" -- which later led to a viewing of the movie 'office space' at his apartment a few weeks later.

subsequent celebrations of my birthday brought lots of fun times. dinners out together, thoughtful gifts. in 2006, my first birthday back in maryland, Jarronn threw me a surprise party at lucky strike. i was pretty impressed at how well he had pulled it off. especially considering that he hardly knew my friends back then.

this past year, i suggested that we not exchange gifts, as we were trying to save money for our wedding. i woke up last year to homemade belgian waffles and Jarronn's excitement to celebrate me. i came home to a gift. Jarronn had printed one of my favorite photos of us and framed it with references to some of our favorite phrases, inside jokes, and moments. the perfect gift. it hangs between my dresser mirror and bedroom door, and i stare at it for a few minutes each day. for a few final seconds before i leave the house.

i didn't know how i'd feel on my birthday this year. luckily (i guess), i tend not to make a big deal out of my birthday or have any expectations for it being the best day of the year. but i did think about Jarronn. how this wouldn't be a birthday that started and ended with him. how three years ago, i told him i wanted to be married by this birthday. he found that pretty amusing at the time but later reminded me that he helped me reach my goal.

this year's birthday was a good one. i worked that day, had class afterwards, and then a two-hour conference call. not exactly relaxing, but the day was filled with lots of love and things i'm thankful for -- flowers on my desk, lunch at a great restaurant, cake and a card at work, and even cupcakes from my group project members when i got to class. i was overflowing with gratitude.

so another year and another birthday. different, but good.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

private pains

in a sense, i'm lucky. i've experienced this incredible loss and the pain that goes along with it. but at the same time, i've had the freedom to deal with it publicly.

a few weeks ago, i realized that this isn't the case for a lot of people. there are people who are facing pain that's just as real, just as deep. but their pain doesn't tend to warrant the kind of support i've received. people can rally around a person who's lost a loved one. and the person who's grieving is expected, and even encouraged, to express their pain. not sure why that is. maybe because death seems more inevitable and is therefore easier to relate to.

but there's lots of people who experience pain, and with it carry so much baggage. a spouse who has left, an addiction that won't go away, mental illness, issues of insecurity, losing a job, suicidal thoughts, falling short, dreams deferred...the list goes on and on. i wish i could hug all of those people. or let them have one day where everyone encourages them to talk about their feelings. to not feel ashamed. to feel a support system and abundant love. to receive dozens of cards that tell them everything will be ok.

sometimes it doesn't seem fair that i've been the recipient of all of that. that i've been kind of lucky.

Friday, October 16, 2009


there are now actually days when i don't cry. sometimes because i'm able to hold back the tears. other times because i'm so focused on my to-do list. and other times when i'm just feeling thankful.

but it seems that when i go a few days without crying, it's like my body wants to make up for lost time. and so i cry for extended periods of time. not usually triggered by anything in particular. but it's like the well has reached capacity, and the overflow begins. the tears rush out. the sobbing ensues. i wonder if there's progress in all of this.

i read somewhere, shortly after Jarronn died, that tears flush out emotional tension and help release endorphins (brain chemicals released from the brain which can cause feelings of relief and euphoria). i remind myself of this every time i cry. it's my way of trying to make myself feel better. it's hard not to feel sorry for yourself when you hear yourself sobbing, sniffing and gasping for air. or at least it's hard for me.

Monday, October 12, 2009


i dreamt of you last night. we were together. i told you stories and anticipated your response. i felt so comfortable. felt like myself. you cracked some jokes. made me laugh in the way that no one else can. you demonstrated that confidence and self-assuredness that i love.

and then i kissed you. you kissed me back. i held you tight, not wanting to let go. kind of like i used to even when you were here. and i knew this was the closest thing we had to being together. i told you that. and you let me relish the moment.

us. together.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


one year ago today, we had our housewarming/engagement party. family and friends who were local and from out of town packed out the house. i'll always remember how Jarronn and i carefully watched the evite list to monitor the number of guests. somehow the number had ballooned to about 75 people, and we had no idea how we would fit all of those people into the house. or how much food we needed to feed them all.

it was a frantic day. Jarronn and i divided the shopping list. there were last minute projects to complete around the house. i planted purple mums in the front yard. Jarronn came home with a new piece of furniture. we rented and borrowed folding chairs. Jarronn made his famous baked ziti and bbq wings. i baked tiramasu cupcakes and pasta. and we hoped for the best as people arrived.

the house was filled with people. on the deck. in the living room. in the dining room. in the basement. kids were running in the yard. spades games were getting intense. pool balls were cracking. cameras were snapping. tours were given. jokes were made. stories were told. people interacted. it was a great example of what made of our lives rich.

Jarronn was so proud and happy about what we'd done with the house. i certainly didn't blame him. buying the house was a huge step and accomplishment. and the renovations we did together made it feel like home. they also represented the first major decisions we'd made as a unit.

Jarronn and i hardly saw each other that day. i was sorry to find that in the dozens of photos left on our camera, none of them were of the two of us together. but at the end of it all, we felt so good. accomplished. thankful. that we were a great team, and we threw a good party. that all of our family members commented on how nice our friends were, which was something we knew and appreciated. we shared a hi-five. we crashed. we opened presents the next day.

here's two of my favorite photos from the next day. Jarronn's reaction to a book he received from his mom. :-) i miss him so much.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


football season is well under way. for most of my life, basketball was my favorite sport. i knew the basic rules of football, which i learned from playing video games with kids i baby-sat and then attending the games of my linebacker boyfriend in high school. but i wouldn't say i was really into the game. when i graduated from college, i found myself living away from my friends and with lots of spare time on weekends -- particularly sundays. this was the impetus for my love affair with football. but maybe God also knew that my appreciation for the game would be a major point of bonding for me and my future husband.

on our first date as friends, Jarronn and i talked about football. he was a die-hard redskins fan, but had an affinity for donovan mcnabb as a player. so he was able to root for the eagles (my team), as long as they weren't playing the skins. and though i didn't have any affinities for the skins, i learned to do the same for him.

in 2006, after we had both moved back down to maryland, Jarronn was so excited to get season tickets to the skins' games. i missed the time with him on sundays, but he absolutely loved tailgating and cheering on his team until his voice was gone.

Jarronn bought me my authentic mcnabb jersey for my birthday in 2005. in 2006, he bought us lower-level seats for the skins-eagles game (his season tix were in the 400 level section). i know there's probably lots of ladies thinking, "what's up with all of the football themed birthday gifts?" but i loved it. i was thrilled that i got to go to my first nfl game with him, and was even more happy when the eagles beat the skins. those photos of me in the "comfort" post were before that game. afterwards, it was me trying to get him to smile.

over the years, i've found myself cheering on the redskins. the eagles are still my #1 team, but because Jarronn loved the skins so much and would be disappointed when they lost -- if for nothing else i cheered them on because i wanted him to be happy.

Jarronn isn't getting the chance to use his season tickets this year. that feels really strange. i went to sunday's game hoping to represent him in some way. Lord knows i can't be nearly as loud or funny or heckle with the skill that he had. but it felt great to be out there. to be in his seat. to see his family and friends at the tailgate. to hi-five the other season ticket holders around us. to pay too much for french fries. to feel the energy, maybe even some of his. to celebrate the win.

i miss Jarronn being here to watch the games on tv with me. to make commentary on the action. he had this crazy way of saying the exact thing the commentators would say, but just 30 seconds sooner. i missed not having him here to discuss how awkward tony dungy looked on his first night of monday night football.

in a sense, football is just a sport. but in so many ways it's been a lot more. football brought me and Jarronn closer together. it was a reason to connect with friends. it consistently entertained us. it served as a way for us to establish traditions. it helped my dad and Jarronn bond. it probably even made my own relationship with my father stronger. so i truly love football. a love affair that led to so much more love in life.

Friday, October 2, 2009

beverly hills

i spent half of last week in l.a. for work. the daily variety magazine hosted an event called "power of women" to honor seven women in entertainment who have engaged in philanthropic activity. one of the honorees was actress maria bello (coyote ugly, history of violence, the cool), who highlighted her work with the organization i work for.

this was a great opportunity for our organization. lots of exposure and networking. and we got to go to beverly hills. when i got the call about it, i couldn't help but feel that Jarronn had had something to do with it. like it was him working in cohoots with God and trying to make me smile. in the weeks leading up to the trip, it served to be a great thing to look forward to.

but then as it got closer, my excitement faded. i didn't want to go. i felt nervous about being away from home. i realized how hard it was to be excited about things. to experience new things and know that i wouldn't be able to call Jarronn and tell him about them. i wouldn't be able to reenact situations from the trip once i got home. it's crazy how just having someone to share things with can make life so much richer.

though i didn't want to go, the trip was really good. "four seasons good" -- as i came to say. the parts of the trip for work were a success. and being away turned out to be a really good thing for me. to get the sunshine. to have some great conversations with my co-workers. to eat lots of pinkberry (pomegranate flavor!). to walk up rodeo drive and know that i understand what's most important in life.

below are photos of the staff with maria bello and anne hathaway...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

the boys

one thing that makes me feel better is talking to the boys. Jarronn's boys. this is probably because i know how much each of them meant to him. how much he valued their friendship. and how much they all loved him.

like Jarronn, i value the different stages of his life they each represent(ed). i value the way that each of them is unique. and in so many ways, they represent the thing i loved most about Jarronn -- how multi-faceted he was. in his friends i see the engineer, the business man, the God-fearer, the family man, the sports fan, the lover boy, and so on. most importantly, i see a group of men who want to be better. some might be more focused than others, but they all want to be better.

they serve as an awesome reminder of how great of a friend my husband was. as i spoke to each of them in the days after his death, it was amazing to me how all of them told me they had shared long conversations with Jarronn in the days before he died. i always knew this, but i was reminded of how Jarronn was a much better friend than i was. how he was a model for me in that way. he somehow seemed to achieve quality and quantity in his relationships.

in the time that i knew Jarronn, i saw how he often gave his friends sound advice. i know they miss this. he was never judgmental. he just always wanted to see his friends have the best. but i also know that there were many times when these men advised Jarronn too. even on things related to our relationship and our working towards marriage. (i think one of these conversations resulted in us finally 'agreeing' on our bedroom decor - thanks Joe!)

i love that Jarronn's friends became my friends. and i love them, not just for how they've always embraced me, but just based on how much they each meant to Jarronn. so to aaron, nate, lennox, marck, marc, mike, d-mitch, raph, andy, al d., will, and joe -- thank you. Jarronn loved you all deeply, and i'm grateful for everything you added to his life and our life together.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


i like to comfort people. typically not so much with hugs, but more so with words. encouraging words. i like talking with people about what's bothering them. and i try my best to encourage them through it.

at some point, i came to the realization that while i like to comfort people, it's extremely difficult for me to be comforted by someone else. i'm not sure why. i just tend to draw the most comfort from an internal source (Source). and while i may have been mildly aware of this before, i'm acutely aware of it now that Jarronn isn't here. now that the one person who could comfort me isn't here. i'm realizing that this was one of the crucial reasons why i loved him. and why i felt he was "the one." he knew how to talk me down. how to change my perspective. how to make me feel secure.

we probably all know how it feels to be upset about something, and that sometimes, we just don't want to feel better. we'd rather hang on to whatever's bothering us. even at those moments, Jarronn knew how to get through to me. how to make me smile. how to make me see it wasn't as serious or negative as i thought it was. it really was a gift. that he somehow had just the right words. or just the right amount of humor. just the right amount of empathy. or just the right amount of kick in my butt.

that was huge -- a huge deal and a huge relief. i didn't have to do the comforting.

i remember the first time i recognized this gift in Jarronn. it was 2005, and i was driving in my car, talking to Jarronn on the phone. we had plans to see each other, and somehow they didn't work out. i was upset and got snippy. we hung up after some short words. my mind was racing. i was mad. i was thinking about the fact that it was the first time we had had a tense moment like that. i was probably telling myself why i was justified and that i wouldn't be getting over it anytime soon. i was thinking about how i'd still have an attitude the next time i spoke to him. three minutes into the mind-racing, Jarronn called back. he told me he really didn't like the way we had gotten off the phone. he went on to say a few things that i can't remember specifically now, but i do remember how his honesty shocked me. and it, in turn, forced me to be honest. i told him i was sorry for getting short, but that i was really just disappointed i wasn't going to see him. and he responded saying, "i know. but you don't have to go hard on me." and it's like he couldn't have said anything more perfect. he didn't make it into a huge deal (something i can't stand). he said just enough, because he knew just what i was thinking and feeling.

i feel like i'm inadequately describing all of this. so much so that my head is pounding from feeling that i'm not communicating effectively. but the gist is that i miss the nuanced way that my husband was able to comfort me like no one else could. and at a time where so many people want to see me comforted, i'm sorry.

Jarronn bringing the smile out of me...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


things have been really busy with work and school.

days have been really tough, trying to live without Jarronn.

people have been really amazing, still sending cards, gifts, messages my way.



i miss you so much. i wish i could miss you enough to bring you back. i wish i could stop the tears, at least some of them. i love you.


Friday, September 18, 2009

it's not nice to think about. and even when we think we've got a grasp, we probably don't.

but the truth is, we're all going to die. and in the many things that your loved ones will need to deal with after your death, you don't want lots of paper work to be one of them. trust me.

i was thinking about building something like a spreadsheet that would house important passwords, documents, policies, etc. but because this is obviously a common challenge, i just came across this article today, and i want to share it with everyone.

Death-Defying Websites Pass Crucial Info to the Grieving - U.S. News & World Report

Many of us have readied for our physical death by doing such things as getting life insurance and wills in place. Now a number of websites want to prod us into prepping our virtual selves for the afterlife. They're offering digital safekeeping for documents, online passwords, and other data that could prove crucial or comforting to grieving relatives and friends.

Some techies understand the death-defying power of the Internet. For years, programmers have coded computers to send E-mails if the user didn't enter a password in a timely fashion—say, every week. The notes originally went to supervisors or colleagues with needed passwords and instructions. They later included E-mails to friends and loved ones and were called "death switches," writes David Eagleman, who turned the concept into

Several sites arose from the personal experiences of entrepreneurs who tried to unwind the Web affairs of loved ones after they died. Jeremy Toeman conceived after struggling unsuccessfully to get access to his grandmother's Hotmail account after she died. "I wanted to contact her friends to let them know of her passing," he says. In pondering his own mortality during a plane flight, he realized nobody would know the passwords to Web domains he owns. Read entire article

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


while walking around, riding on the train, sitting in class -- i often wish i could just jump out of my body. and jump out of my life.

i don't ever seem to get my wish.

it's hard feeling this way after spending an entire life feeling content. everything hasn't always been perfect. but i've been content. i've been in situations where i wasn't happy, but i could always look forward to when things would get better. i knew i could make efforts to change the situation.

this is one situation i can't change. and please don't tell me that God wants to show me that He can change it. i just wish i could leave it behind. i can't envision things being better. i envision me dealing more. accepting more. but i can't see better.

i want to jump out of my body. and i get the urge to scream when i remember that i can't. so instead, i wrote this blog...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

no rush

i had an errand to run after work today. i was hoping to buy one last book that i need for school. and i needed my georgetown t-shirt in a different size. i left the campus around 7 and took my time walking toward the bus routes that run through m street. i debated whether or not i should stop for frozen yogurt at ice berry. (this tart yogurt business is quickly becoming my new obsession. in fact, following the sweet green mobile was my primary motivation for creating a twitter account. Jarronn definitely shook his head at that one.)

with my green tea yogurt in hand, i dashed across the street to hop on the circulator. didn't make a lot of sense, considering that i couldn't eat on the bus! after staring longingly at my yogurt, i hopped off in between metro stops, so i could walk and devour.

i walked slowly, because i wasn't in a rush. my reason for rushing home is no longer there. if Jarronn was still here, i never would have walked so slow. never would have stopped for yogurt. i used to do lots of things after work -- the gym, dinner with friends, errands, etc. but i always looked forward to coming home. a few weeks before Jarronn died, i told a friend that seeing Jarronn at the end of the day was the highlight of my day. it was what i looked forward to from the moment i sat at my desk at work and turned on my computer.

he'd often be home before me. i'd come through the front door, and he'd scurry into view after jumping up from the couch. which would always make me laugh. and i knew that everything in life would be fine. and that i had to be one of the most favored women in the world. that a man i simply adored was so excited to see me come home.

all of that's gone. i'm greeted by darkness and silence (minus the house alarm, of course). people tend to think that would be difficult for me. but i really don't mind it. in fact, i like it. i might not find the feelings i experienced before upon walking through the door, but i do find peace. and a free-ness to deal with new companion -- my thoughts.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

gospel song

i'm still sorting through facebook messages. 125 more to go. not that i don't appreciate hearing from so many people. it's just taking some time to respond.

thanks to tania j. for sending the words of an old time gospel song to me...

One day at a time sweet Jesus
That's all I'm asking from you.
Just give me the strength
To do everyday what I have to do.
Yesterday's gone sweet Jesus
And tomorrow may never be mine.
Lord help me today, show me the way
One day at a time.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

holiday weekend

it's been hard to know where to start. i guess that's why i haven't posted anything in a few days. it's hard to put things into words. i typically try to capture just a sliver of the thoughts and feelings i'm experiencing. but sometimes i can't sort through the clutter.

the holiday weekend kicked off with an early closing at work. i had to head over to georgetown to buy my final text book. i figured i'd also buy a t-shirt. i found myself wandering through the men's section, wishing i could buy one for Jarronn. i walked across campus, wondering if i looked that young when i was in college. figured i probably did. thought about how i never would have imagined this kind of pain for myself back then. i missed how simple of a time that was. realized that the students i walked past probably couldn't appreciate the simplicity.

stopped at georgetown cupcake on my way home. stood behind a tall, blond married couple. thought they looked compatible. missed moments just waiting in line, whispering back and forth to pass the time. i would lean in for kisses, and Jarronn would playfully give me a hard time about being in public and me not being able to resist him.

made it home. talked to my father (-in-law). got into bed by 8 p.m. after looking forward to it all day. ate a cupcake. talked on the phone. slept for 10 hours.

saturday morning i cleaned up. tried to put some things in the places where they belong, as opposed to them being in the places that visitors had put them in. thought about how Jarronn would clean his nj apartment every saturday morning, usually while playing james brown.

i went to the grocery store for the first time in more than five weeks. ran into the mother of one of our groomsmen (aaron). talked to her and shed some tears in front of the store. felt weird to not have to pick up Jarronn's favorite brands. no home pride wheat bread. no monster energy drinks. no thoughts about which cereal to get.

I spent saturday night over at nate's (another groomsman) and quanita's. it was good to see friends. friends who were Jarronn's friends and then became my friends. we laughed a lot. and seeing noah, Jarronn's (our) godson made me smile. i always planned to have children down the line, but seeing noah would make me excited about having children. as you can see, Jarronn used to try to keep noah to himself. :-)

sunday i headed to nj to spend time with my mom and cousins. had a good time hanging out, cooking on the grill, laughing at my cousins' kids. children just seem to make things feel better. went to bed and slept for 12 hours.

mom cooked breakfast on monday morning. we sat in bed and talked and cried. this hurts so many people. i rode the train back to md. went to the mall to return a sweater Jarronn had bought the week before he died. the cashier told me she had gotten engaged that weekend. her fiance told her he'd buy her a real ring once he had the money. i thought that was good that she wasn't materialistic. she went on to say that once he got his house together, they would move into it and she wouldn't have to work. he made $1000 a week. she said she couldn't stand his family, because they were snobs. it's probably bad that i wondered how long this marriage would last. i tried to tell her to focus on the importance of them joining their lives together. she smiled the smile of a person who couldn't imagine anything going wrong. maybe she's better off than me.

i stopped by my godmother's for dinner with her and my godsister. had a good meal and a good time. went home and caught up with one of my best friends from high school over the phone. as i settled in to bed, i realized i had made it through the weekend. if Jarronn was around, it might not have been much different. cleaning the house, errands, visits with family and friends. but if he were here, it would have felt different. life goes on, but the activities of life don't feel the same.

Friday, September 4, 2009

back to school

classes at georgetown started back up yesterday. it's hard to know i'm starting a new semester and don't have Jarronn's support. getting my masters was something that he was excited about. i told him my goal of getting only "A's" throughout my program. he was impressed, told me i could do it, and gave me a high five. we arranged everything so that i was able to pay for school as i go and not worry about loans.

the last time i was in classes, it was three weeks before our wedding. he was patient with me as i tried to juggle everything. my classmates were excited for me and my summer off. one of my classmates and i bonded over our similarities -- we both graduated the same year from umd, we were both named jessica, we were both getting married, and both of us would have the same new married name. "congrats, mrs. jackson =)", she wrote on my facebook wall. "thank you mrs. jackson! :-)", i responded, tickled to death.

...and now our stories are extremely different.

i came into class yesterday and saw a friend from a past class. she asked how my summer had been. "good and bad," i replied. i hated that i had to break the news one more time. it's hard for me, but i also know it puts other people in a tough spot.

sat in class and loved the subject matter. excited to be learning. sad that i can't go home and talk about what i'm learning with Jarronn. i want to hear his thoughts and unique perspective on things.

saw another classmate in the hall during our break. she knew the news and gave me a big hug. told me her uncle had passed and she made sure she got her window seat on the plane. made me smile.

dreaming more

a couple weeks ago, i wrote about dreaming. since then, it seems like i dream about Jarronn almost every night. wednesday night i dreamt that though we thought Jarronn had died, he had actually just been lost and unable to communicate with us. he finally reconnected and made it home. everyone was excited and relieved. i was ecstatic. so much so that i realized it was just a dream and woke myself up. it's another reminder that i'm still grappling with the reality of my life. i spend a portion of most dreams with Jarronn explaining to him that he died on july 30. he's usually surprised or heartbroken by the news. sometimes i explain how it happened. or tell him how his family is taking it.

i got myself back to sleep on wednesday, and Jarronn was in my second dream. this time, he was mad at me for something and wouldn't talk to me. i was trying to get him to forgive me, but i'm not sure what he thought i'd done wrong. not sure what that's about. didn't feel very rested when i woke up.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

text messages

i'm thankful for mobile devices today that let you keep a running conversation of text messages with people. this has allowed me to keep most of my text "conversations" with Jarronn since april when i got my latest phone. can you imagine that even after five years, i still got excited when i saw his name come across my phone?

i miss the midday check-ins to say hello, make me smile, or make plans for the evening. the messages with one more item for the grocery list, inside jokes between us, or telling me he'd pick me up from the metro station.


Me (6/2/09):
Just want you to know I adore you. (and it's ok if you can't respond). Have a good day Boo!

Jarronn (6/2/09):
Haha. I'll make time for my WIFE. I'm madly in love with you too, Boo! We're perfect for each other!

Me (6/2/09):
I couldn't agree more. :-)


Jarronn (6/6/09):
What's the word, Babylove?


Me (7/27/09):
I really love my husband!

Jarronn (7/27/09):
I looove my wife and tell people that as much as they'll listen!


it's hard to think about how much has changed between when those messages were exchanged and now. and yet, some things are still the same. i'm madly in love with Jarronn. i'm perfect for Jarronn. i'm married (kinda, i think) to Jarronn. huh? but Jarronn isn't here.

more text messages later...

Monday, August 31, 2009

hardest part of day

mornings tend to be the hardest part of the day. i'm not a morning person to begin with. Jarronn and i were opposites in that way. he'd hop up in the mornings and fall asleep watching t.v. by 9:00 p.m. i, on the other hand, tend to find it hard to fall asleep before midnight. and i struggle to get up in the mornings, even sometimes after having a full night's rest. Jarronn would tease me about the fact that even after a shower and getting dressed, i still looked like i wasn't really awake.

mornings these days are even more difficult. i wake up and get smacked with the reality that i have to make it through another day. as opposed to wanting five more minutes, i now want five more hours. the thing that typically gets me out of bed is having to go to the bathroom, or knowing someone will be coming over.

i stare in to space. a lot. i stare at the closet, the floor, the wall. i often imagine what the morning "should" be like.
...cnn american morning on the t.v. making the bed from both sides. taking turns with the iron. Jarronn making me laugh. Jarronn taking care of business on his laptop. Me asking for his thoughts on my outfit. Jarronn reminding me not to put my shoes on upstairs (something i still feel guilty doing). me making oatmeal for us to take to work...

i do push through, though. i make it to work. usually late. but things get better once the day moves on. my work is worthwhile. i talk to friends and family. and at the end, i thank God for getting me through another day.

early morning with Jarronn...

Saturday, August 29, 2009


saturday. i've been staying busy with work, dinner with friends, and guests. it's been good to keep my mind off things. but i couldn't bring myself to make plans for the weekend. the distractions are good, but my fear is locking myself into social interactions and finding myself at a point where i desperately want to exit. plus, i looked forward to the desire i'd been pushing off all week -- crawling into bed, pulling up the covers, and staying there for hours.

saturdays were always my favorite days with Jarronn. he'd usually have something going on in the morning -- basketball or flag football. and then he'd come home, and the day was ours to share. birthday parties, errands, movies on the couch, trips to the mall. it really didn't matter what it was. if i had something to do that prevented us from spending the day together, Jarronn would playfully lay a guilt trip on me for leaving him. i miss him pulling me back to the couch when i insisted that i was going to be late. while i was gone, i'd be looking forward to making it back to him.

Jarronn and i spent lots of time together. and still somehow found time to do lots of things individually. but he always stressed the importance of quality time. he'd make jokes to his boys about how he had to go "spend this quality time" (a la martin lawrence - "you so crazy"). we'd both laugh, because we knew that our relationship never felt like an obligation. and Jarronn constantly thought of ways to keep our relationship new, even after four years together. during our wedding, he vowed to continue to date me throughout our marriage, and i knew he would keep that promise. and i really didn't care what we did. i just loved being together.

saturdays aren't the same.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

breaking the news

it's been four weeks, and i'm still having to break the news to people. yesterday, i spoke to three of Jarronn's friends who hadn't known he died. one was a friend from high school. Jarronn had worked as his realtor and helped him buy his first house a few months ago. before i had broken the news, he was asking if we had already gotten married. another friend was one Jarronn met when he first started working at johnson & johnson. i couldn't find his number to get in touch with him, though i wanted to badly. i thought the friend might have already known what had happened, because he sent a text to Jarronn's phone last week that said, "R U Alive?" it turned out to just be irony. he hadn't heard from Jarronn after expecting to, and he knew that wasn't like him to not do something he said he'd do. both friends answered the phone with excitement, "brother Jackson!" and then i had to break the news. Jarronn's phone has 20 voicemail messages, and i can only imagine who else might be waiting for him to call them back.

and then there's the people who are my acquaintances and haven't seen me in three or four months. they run into me and congratulate me on the wedding. telling me they saw the wedding photos on facebook and how great they looked. i thank them and end the conversation quickly. i can't quite imagine how i'd say, "thanks. yeah, the honeymoon was great. but my husband died four weeks ago." life seems awkward enough without adding those kind of interactions into the mix.

i sometimes think about what breaking the news will be like three, six, or 12 months from now. will i talk about "my late husband?" how will people react to me and that term? it's hard to imagine that this will one day be something i talk about in a matter-of-fact way. i don't want it to be.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

missing him

the past few days have had their ups and downs. i went to nyc on friday for work. it was good to have another change of surroundings, but being in the city also reminded me of all of the different things Jarronn and i had done there. the 2005 car show at jacob javitts center. seeing his cousin afi perform at b.b. king's. joe and alicia's baby shower. his cousin marisa's sock party. the lion king and the color purple on broadway. the "slavery in new york" exhibit at the ny historical society. i've certainly been grieving over the past few weeks, but friday's trip really made me miss Jarronn.

i was in new jersey on friday and saturday and felt more of the same feelings. we ate at the restaurant where he had his farewell party before moving to maryland. we drove past the hyatt where we used to go shoot pool. i realized that there's few things i can look at that i don't associate with Jarronn. we shared a lot over the past five years. we were best friends that enjoyed life.

it's been hard to write the past few days. in addition to trying to keep up at work, i've been feeling more than i've been able to translate into words. the mix of emotions have left me feeling tired and a bit overwhelmed. missing him so much...

Friday, August 21, 2009


among the many different emails i receive with kind words, messages of encouragement, and well wishes, i was really pleased to receive one from a former co-worker of Jarronn's. i actually worked with her at johnson & johnson as well when i was an intern, but she knew Jarronn much better, because they worked in the same division.

in her email, this co-worker, margarita, shared that she really enjoyed working with Jarronn and said, "he was such a gentleman who had a great attitude and smile!" margarita went on to share that this past sunday, august 16, she ran the nyc half marathon, and did so in honor of Jarronn. she hoped that this "small gesture" would show that he was truly appreciated.

i can't tell you how much something like this would mean to Jarronn. i'm touched to know that someone he worked with five years ago was moved to respond in this way. it certainly is an honor, and is another testament to how special he was/is. and he never would have imagined something like this.

below is a photo of margarita with her sign that read: "i'm running in memory of my friend Jarronn Jackson, Mar. 1, 1980 - Jul 30, 2009" thanks margarita!!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

the physical

the physical effects of this are pretty real. within a few days of Jarronn's passing, i lost eight pounds. (i had hoped to lose five pounds of honeymoon/newlywedded bliss weight, but certainly not like this). my digestive system has been unstable for the past three weeks, so that even though i've regained my appetite, it's hard to see eating as something to look forward to. not sure if it's nerves or that my stomach has forgotten how to respond.

there's also the exhaustion. regular things i was used to doing everyday wipe me out. and the exhaustion tends to make me vulnerable to a range unpleasant emotions...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

on being strong

a lot of people tell me i'm strong. i don't feel strong. crying myself to sleep doesn't feel strong. tossing and turning all night doesn't feel strong. wailing in the bathroom doesn't feel strong. feeling like i can't go on 25 times each day does not feel strong.

i guess people try to imagine themselves in my shoes and can't comprehend it. they think of how they'd react. but if you had asked me on july 29 how i would deal with something like this, i wouldn't have been able to comprehend it either. the point is, none of us really know how much we can take until we are confronted with the challenging situations of life. and generally, each of us can handle a lot more than we think.

if people want to draw strength from me, that's good. but being strong/staying strong/standing strong is not my objective right now. right now i'm just trying to keep living. to push myself out of bed in the morning. to make sense of life now that my hopes and dreams have been ripped away. to literally take it one day at a time, if not one moment at a time. because that's really all i have strength for.

now if you want to see strong, check out the big man in the red plaid shirt below.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

plane ride

i’m back at work today after flying home last night. on my way down to jamaica, i boarded the plane and found that my seat was occupied. in the window seat was a teen-aged boy, and next to him in the middle seat was his little sister, who looked about 10 years old. i communicated that 22F was my seat, but as the teenager looked up at me with a dumbfounded look, i told him that i'd take the aisle seat if he wanted the window. he agreed (of course). as i settled in my seat, i realized that the kids' parents were sitting across the aisle from us. the father asked with concern, "is that ok?" i told him it was fine.

but it wasn't fine. i was upset that i had lost my seat that i had requested, all to accommodate someone else. i was upset that i couldn't press up against my window seat and cry in peace. instead, i dealt with the kids constantly looking over me to their parents across the aisle. i could hear the little girl next to me whispering about me to her big brother, "she's crying." i'm sure she was confused and terrified. it got worse as i was completely exhausted but had to get up multiple times to let them go to the bathroom. i was reminded to take a lesson from Jarronn: be polite, but be sure to also speak up for the things you want (or possibly need).

on the return flight home, i boarded and once again found someone sitting in my window seat, this time a grown woman. the middle seat beside her was empty, and a woman in the aisle seat asked, "do you think you could sit in the middle seat across the aisle, so that this woman in the window seat can move her daughter over into this open middle seat??" ummmmmm.... "if you can make that happen, and i still end up in a window seat, that's fine. but i'm going through a lot, and i need a window seat," i responded. the women moved out of the aisle so that i could file into my seat. the woman who had been in my seat grumbled about air jamaica not seating her with her daughter and vowing to never fly with them again.

i stared out the window and reassured myself that i had done what i needed to do for me. but i'd be lying if i said i didn't feel bad. accommodating others is something i'm used to doing. make everybody happy. be everybody's friend. what i'm not used to is being in a position where i need to accommodate myself for my sanity and emotional stability. and realizing all of this made me sad. sad that i'm not the person i was two weeks ago. not really sure who i am.

Monday, August 17, 2009

our special spot

a few days before Jarronn and i came to jamaica in july 2008, he suggested that we check out the sunset from our favorite "look out" on our first night there. he had checked the weather and thought it would be the clearest night and our best chance of seeing the kind of beautiful sunset we'd seen on the last night of our 2007 visit. that sunset in 2007 had been the most amazing sunset either of us had seen. and because in 2005 we'd seen the most amazing full moon over montego bay from the same spot, we thought this look out spot had to have some kind of magical power.

what i didn't realize was that Jarronn was hoping to have a beautiful sunset as the backdrop to his proposal. he had an engagement ring inside of his backpack and was waiting for just "the perfect moment." our first night there, the sunset was less than exciting. the sky was full of clouds, so Jarronn postponed and waited for "the perfect moment." we went up to the look out again on the following day, in the afternoon, and as we snapped some photos, Jarronn said to me, "this is our special spot, don't you think?" i responded, "yeah, it is." i think he was hoping that this would lead into "the perfect moment," but my response wasn't reflective/deep enough to take us there, lol. so he postponed again.

Jarronn carried his backpack with him everywhere that week. he told me that it had his camera tripod inside, and i didn't give it much thought. on our last night, we went to the beach with my mom. the sunset was pretty, but still not like the one we'd seen in 2007. while i was lying on the beach, i started thinking about how much i wanted Jarronn to propose. how much i wanted us to get married. but after a few minutes, i remember saying to myself that i wasn't going to worry or obsess over when it was going to happen. i trusted God that it would happen when the time was "right," so i'd continue to enjoy everything i had in the meantime.

we went back to my mom's house that evening and uploaded the photos we'd taken over the week to her computer. we also told her about the amazing sunset we'd seen in 2007. we went to my facebook page to show her photos, and when she saw the photo of Jarronn kissing me on the cheek in front of the sunset, she said, "what a perfect moment." Jarronn started talking about creating another perfect moment, and while on one knee presented a ring and asked me to marry him. i, of course, said yes. he was thrilled that i was surprised. and you would have thought my mom had been proposed to.

i went back to our special spot on friday. this time to place a part of Jarronn's remains there. it had rained earlier, so i didn't know what to expect in terms of the sunset. but what i saw was absolutely beautiful. in fact, i learned that the best sunsets happen after it has rained. and just like my relationship with Jarronn, the sunset just kept getting better and better with time. i thanked God and Jarronn for the beauty. i cried. i missed him. and without realizing, my mom used the same phrase she'd used last year. it was "the perfect moment." photos of this year's sunset are below.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


since Jarronn died, i've only dreamt of him three times. the first was the night he died. i had come downstairs into the living room and saw him sitting on the couch -- a familiar sight on any given morning. i asked him what he was doing there, alive, and he explained that they had given him food at the hospital, and the more he ate, the more strength he got. so there he was. i was so happy that the night before had all been "a bad dream." we talked, and as more people ended up in our living room, i realized that i was the only person who could see or talk to him. it was a good dream.

in subsequent nights, as i've cried myself to sleep, i've asked Jarronn to visit me in my dreams. but he doesn't always show up.

i dreamt of him again last night. we talked about his death and how he was doing. he said he was fine. that nothing was bothering him. i woke up and felt devastated. devastated that it was just a dream. even devastated that he's experiencing peace, and i'm here suffering. talking to him felt so real, but in reality, i can't talk to him anymore like i used to. right now, i'd do anything to be able to ask him question after question until he starts to get frustrated with me. i want so badly to see his face, to hear his voice.

now i'm not so sure about the whole dreaming thing. don't think i'll be asking for more appearances any time soon.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

so amazing

my mom took me to dinner by the water last night. we ate with some of her friends and shared some good conversation, although it can be hard to be in social settings for long periods of time.

a musician on the deck sang pop songs over keyboard music. at one point, he started singing luther vandross's song "so amazing." it reminded me of a time i went to dinner with a few female friends a couple years ago. we were eating at indeblue in d.c., and i asked the ladies how their relationships were going. two of them responded with a lukewarm "ok." i was less than satisfied with this response! from everything i knew about both of their boyfriends, i expected much more enthusiasm. i inquired about why their responses lacked luster and neither seemed to really have an explanation. they then asked me how things were with Jarronn, and after lacking the proper words to explain how great things were, i broke into my rendition of "so amazing" -- doing luther's song little justice.

"love has truly been good to me
not even one sad day
or minute have i had since you've come my way
i hope you know i'd gladly go
anywhere you'd take me
it's so amazing to be loved
i'd follow you to the moon in the sky above...

"and it's so amazing, amazing
i could stay forever, forever
here in love and no, leave you never
'cause we've got amazing love"

i think my friends were stunned and perhaps embarrassed for me, lol. they also made fun of me for the next two years. did jessica really just bust into song over her man?! but the truth is that it really was that good. and one thing that has brought me some peace in this situation is knowing that i fully appreciated what i had with Jarronn -- while i had it. i didn't take any phone call, kiss, or gesture for granted. and i let him know how much it all meant to me. if your relationship is really 'just ok', that's one thing. but if it's wonderful, you should say so and do so, while you have the opportunity.

Friday, August 14, 2009

on the catamaran

i arrived in monetgo bay, jamaica yesterday. i'm hoping to get some sun, sand, and silence. it's hard though, because Jarronn has been with me the last three times i've been here. and we always had such a good time here. one of our favorite things to do has been taking a catamaran tour. we've done it every year we've come.

i went out on the boat this morning. it was really a beautiful day. but it was tough. staring at the water reminded me of how we used to talk about its amazing color. (he took the photo of his foot in front of it so he could remember the color). we were here last year when Jarronn proposed. it's mind-boggling to see how much things can change in a year. i thought about the hobie cat we rode on during our honeymoon in st. lucia. we called it our mini-catamaran, and he considered himself a trained sailor. :-)

i cried on the boat today. but i also jumped off the side and swam with pretty blue and yellow fish. and i drove the boat -- something i wish i could brag about to Jarronn right now.

one day at a time

on july 30, 2009, the love of my life--my husband Jarronn--died. there's so much that i'm feeling and experiencing, and i thought this might be a way for me to deal with those things.